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Mr. PA Football 2023 Winners Announced

Written by: on Sunday, March 10th, 2024. Follow David Mika on Twitter.


HARRISBURG – On Saturday afternoon, the 14th Annual Mr. PA Football Awards ceremony took place at the Country Club of Harrisburg, where the awards winners were announced. The votes were determined by fans, media members and coaches panel members. The awards are sponsored by and owner Wayde Marsico. 

The day got started with the 2023 “Mickey Minnich” Legendary Coach Award. It went to Bob Palko, who coached at West Allegheny and Mt. Lebanon. Bob joins a list of Legendary coaches that have a combined record of 4543 (wins) – 1360 (losses) – 49 (ties).

Bob coached West Allegheny High School for 24 years from 1995-2018, winning eight WPIAL Titles and three PIAA titles. Palko then coached four seasons at Mt. Lebanon from 2019-22. In 2021, Mt. Lebanon went 15-0 and won the 6A state title, 35-17 against St. Joe’s Prep.

Next up were the Lineman awards for Big and Small School Players for the 2023 season. The Big School (4A-6A) Lineman award went to Jah’Sear Whittington, Imhotep Charter. Whittington is a four-star recruit committed to Pittsburgh. 

The Small School (1A-3A) Lineman award went to Caleb Brewer Wyomissing Area. Brewer, a three-star recruit, committed to Penn State. This is back-to-back years that a Wyomissing Area player has won this award. Last year, J’Ven Williams won the award. 

Next up was the Michael Payton Memorial Quarterback Award. The winner for the 2023 season was Hayden Johnson of Manheim Township. In his senior year, he passed for 2,896 yards, 49 touchdowns, 0 interceptions and rushed for 9 touchdowns. Hayden is a Lehigh University commit. 

The 3-Star Foundation award was announced. The 3-Star Foundation, Inc. was created to challenge area youth to achieve their fullest potential as individuals and community members by providing opportunities for academic (mind), physical (body), and character growth (soul).The 3-Star Foundation award went to Caleb Wray from Trinity. 

The Keynote speaker this year was Villanova’s Head Coach Mark Ferrante. The Wildcats finished the 2023 season with a 10-3 record.

The awards ceremony ended with Wayde Marsico announcing the winners of the Big and Small school Mr. PA Football Player of the Year.

The Small School (1A-3A) players up for the award were Alex Achenbach (Williams Valley),  Alex Erby (Steelton-Highspire), Garrett Garcia (Southern Columbia), Ethen Knox (Oil City), Matthew Machalik (Palmerton Area), and Quinton Martin (Belle Vernon).

The 2023 winner was record-setting quarterback Alex Erby of Steel-High. The Navy-bound senior quarterback finished his career as Pennsylvania’s all-time leader in passing yardage (13,562), touchdown passes (176) and single-season touchdown passes (61). He won three state titles and led his team to a 16-0 record his senior year. Erby finished the 2023 season passing for 4,418 yards and 61 touchdown passes and only four interceptions.

The 2023 Big School (4A-6A) winner were picked from Omillio Agard (St. Joseph’s Prep), Juelz Goff (Central York), Tiqwai Hayes (Aliquippa), Hayden Johnson (Manheim Township), Samaj Jones (St. Joseph’s Prep) and Rico Scott (Bishop McDevitt). This year there was a tie, with two players winning the Big School Mr. PA Football title. Alabama commit Rico Scott and Penn State commit Tiqwai Hayes took the title as Big School Player of the Year.

Scott had a monster year at wide receiver. He caught 86 passes for 1,353 yards and 23 touchdowns. Hayes led his team to another state title. The Quips finished the 2023 season with a 14-0 record. He rushed for 2,129 yards on 235 carries and 23 touchdowns.

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